Breathe easy, Pittsburgh, your thirst for a cornerback in the 2011 draft has been satisfied (I’m guessing) with the selection of Curtis Brown from the University of Texas in the third round.
Brown had been talked about as a possibility in the second round, and perhaps in the first round in some cases, but was still on the board for the Steelers to grab at No. 95. This tells me one of two things: Either some of these guys like Brown and Brandon Harris would have been considerable overdrafts in the first round (and in the case of Brown, the first two rounds) or they simply weren’t valued as highly around the league as some of experts valued them.
Here’s what Mike Mayock had to say about Brown shortly after the Steelers selected him: “Solid 3rd-round guy. Can play off coverage, he’s got to get a little bit stronger. He’s a long corner, he’s got press ability … he’s got to tackle a little bit better.”
Before the draft Mike Tomlin talked about how “big people go first” and the Steelers stayed true to that in the first three rounds, adding linemen on both sides of the ball in Rounds 1 and 2 before snatching up Brown at the end of the third. Obviously, Ike Taylor’s future is still anybody’s guess, and Brown will be fighting for playing time with Bryant McFadden, William Gay, Crezdon Butler and Keenan Lewis.
According to new defensive backs coach Carnell Lake, via Ken Laird on Twitter, teams threw away from Brown at Texas because he was a better cover man and that he can help the Steelers on third downs this year. Jim Wexell tweets this from Lake: “CLake says Curtis Brown was Texas’ best cover corner, that they thought Aaron Williams was a safety, that low ints due to teams avoiding him.” And this: “Carnell doesn’t think the Steelers will look at Brown as a return man, but of course expects him to play gunner/jammer.”
And that wraps up Day 2; the Steelers come back on Saturday with four more picks, one in each of the remaining rounds.